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E36 M3 (1992-1999) {Euro - S50 B32 321hp @ 7400 rpm} {U.S. - S52 B32 240 hp @ 6000 rpm}
Total Produced: 71,212 - Years Produced: 1992 to 1999


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Old Sat, Aug-18-2018, 11:47:56 AM   #11
frbz
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Default Re: Plan to convert an E36 3 series to an M3

The later model E36 has the rear subframe reinforcement plates. i do not know what year they got them.
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Old Sat, Aug-18-2018, 11:51:44 AM   #12
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Default Re: Plan to convert an E36 3 series to an M3

The reinforcement plates are available as a kit to be welded in if required. I bought a set as I redid my suspension on my 94 M3. Internet gossip said my car should not have them as it was a Jan 1994 build, but they were there already from the factory when the rear subframe was removed.
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Old Sat, Aug-18-2018, 05:39:03 PM   #13
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Default Re: Plan to convert an E36 3 series to an M3

This what I did when my 99 M3 went into the guard rail at the track. I found a 328is that had a solid chassis but numerous mechanical issues that I got for $800.

I fixed all the issues and sold the 2.8l engine for $500. Then swapped over all the M3 parts.. front and rear sub frames, engine, trans, drive shaft and diff.

Selling off other parts pretty much paid for anything else I needed. But the only thing that made this work was I did all the work myself. To pay someone to do it doesn't make sense economically.

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Old Thu, Aug-23-2018, 04:11:19 AM   #14
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Default Re: Plan to convert an E36 3 series to an M3

Thanks for all the info. I'm still going for a nice, clean 3er. Although swapping in the S52 seems like way to much time/money for a 40ish horsepower gain. I'll prolly sell the engine and put that money towards maintenance/mods.

A big question I've got though - how different is the suspension/subframe? Obviously the springs and shocks are different. But what about things like trailing arms, control arms, etc? Are those the same between the 3er and M3? Or would I have to swap those out? If so, what's the best way to do that? Drop the entire subframe out? Piece by piece? If I do it myself, is it a very involved job? Any welding involved? Or just kinda plug-and-play?

Last edited by Majdnoon; Thu, Aug-23-2018 at 04:15:39 AM.
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Old Fri, Aug-24-2018, 07:52:57 PM   #15
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Default Re: Plan to convert an E36 3 series to an M3

Do not discount your ability to do most of the work yourself...you'll gain so much confidence and surprised yourself. Also, don't discount moving up to the E46 M3...the prices are very good. Also, don't discount even an E90 M3...especially if time to do all the work becomes an issue.
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Old Sat, Aug-25-2018, 01:05:12 PM   #16
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Default Re: Plan to convert an E36 3 series to an M3

Unless you will get personal satisfaction (some do) of doing all this work yourself, just buy an M3. The 3er idea is terrible IMO. As long as you aren’t picky w color you can find a nice one for 13k range. I can’t see this swap job costing much less than that in total.
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Old Sat, Aug-25-2018, 02:15:07 PM   #17
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Default Re: Plan to convert an E36 3 series to an M3

Honestly doing the work would give me a lot of satisfaction yes. Plus it'd help me improve my skills!

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Old Tue, Aug-28-2018, 03:43:40 PM   #18
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Default Re: Plan to convert an E36 3 series to an M3

I actually did this last year for my track car after wrecking my M3.

Do you have tools and space to do this? Taking apart 2 cars ends up with a TON of parts everywhere.

Do you have the tools to do this work? Even buying Harbor Freight starts to add up. Do you have an engine crane? Transmission jack? Do you have the right torque wrenches for the various torque ranges? Do you have the tools to clean and weld in the reinforcements Remember, once you have the suspension out to do the prep work, the car is not moving... I had to run a 50 amp line to my garage...

The tools add up to a significant cost. Also, do not underestimate all of the other things that drive cost. The use-once parts you probably want to change start to add up after a while. $1-2 parts x a lot of parts = significant money. Don't forget to estimate/plan for the "while you are in there parts"... full transmission service? Short shifter upgrade? New clutch/flywheel? Rear main seal? Headers? While the engine is out, that's the best time to do it....

If I wasn't building a race car with a full gut job and an intense level of focus on safety and detail, I would just buy a done M3 and sell your take-offs from the wreck...

It took a LOT of hours too, even with me having done many of the jobs before on the first car that did not need to be redone.

Last edited by tripitz; Tue, Aug-28-2018 at 03:47:49 PM.
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Old Tue, Aug-28-2018, 05:46:18 PM   #19
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Default Re: Plan to convert an E36 3 series to an M3

Quote:
Originally Posted by tripitz View Post
I actually did this last year for my track car after wrecking my M3.

Do you have tools and space to do this? Taking apart 2 cars ends up with a TON of parts everywhere.

Do you have the tools to do this work? Even buying Harbor Freight starts to add up. Do you have an engine crane? Transmission jack? Do you have the right torque wrenches for the various torque ranges? Do you have the tools to clean and weld in the reinforcements Remember, once you have the suspension out to do the prep work, the car is not moving... I had to run a 50 amp line to my garage...

The tools add up to a significant cost. Also, do not underestimate all of the other things that drive cost. The use-once parts you probably want to change start to add up after a while. $1-2 parts x a lot of parts = significant money. Don't forget to estimate/plan for the "while you are in there parts"... full transmission service? Short shifter upgrade? New clutch/flywheel? Rear main seal? Headers? While the engine is out, that's the best time to do it....

If I wasn't building a race car with a full gut job and an intense level of focus on safety and detail, I would just buy a done M3 and sell your take-offs from the wreck...

It took a LOT of hours too, even with me having done many of the jobs before on the first car that did not need to be redone.

This guy is telling the truth!
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Old Tue, Aug-28-2018, 06:50:20 PM   #20
Majdnoon
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Default Re: Plan to convert an E36 3 series to an M3

Quote:
Originally Posted by tripitz View Post
I actually did this last year for my track car after wrecking my M3.

Do you have tools and space to do this? Taking apart 2 cars ends up with a TON of parts everywhere.

Do you have the tools to do this work? Even buying Harbor Freight starts to add up. Do you have an engine crane? Transmission jack? Do you have the right torque wrenches for the various torque ranges? Do you have the tools to clean and weld in the reinforcements Remember, once you have the suspension out to do the prep work, the car is not moving... I had to run a 50 amp line to my garage...

The tools add up to a significant cost. Also, do not underestimate all of the other things that drive cost. The use-once parts you probably want to change start to add up after a while. $1-2 parts x a lot of parts = significant money. Don't forget to estimate/plan for the "while you are in there parts"... full transmission service? Short shifter upgrade? New clutch/flywheel? Rear main seal? Headers? While the engine is out, that's the best time to do it....

If I wasn't building a race car with a full gut job and an intense level of focus on safety and detail, I would just buy a done M3 and sell your take-offs from the wreck...

It took a LOT of hours too, even with me having done many of the jobs before on the first car that did not need to be redone.
Thanks for the info on that. I decided against the engine swap for now. Even if I had all those tools, the time/labor commitment is too much for such a little horsepower gain. Not worth it to me.

Plus I found a 328i w/Turner bolt-ons (power pulleys, tune, intake, etc). I drove it and honestly, hard to tell the power difference between that and my M. This 3er has been lovingly maintained, has an M3 diff, and BC coilovers. Still half the price of an equivalent M3. Makes my work much easier.

My plan thus far is to swap the brakes, shifter (M3 has Z3 short shifter), steering rack (M3's got a Z3 1.9 rack), X-brace, and suspension bits like the trailing arms, control arms, etc. All those components that are beefed up for the M3. Part out the rest of the M3. I don't think that should be too bad. Thoughts?
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Discussing Plan to convert an E36 3 series to an M3 in the E36 M3 (1992-1999) Forum - {Euro - S50 B32 321hp @ 7400 rpm} {U.S. - S52 B32 240 hp @ 6000 rpm}
Total Produced: 71,212 - Years Produced: 1992 to 1999 at BMW M3 Forum.com (E30 M3 | E36 M3 | E46 M3 | E92 M3 | F80/X)